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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sweeping Up For May Local News Sweeps

As I'm working on my Sunday A&E story about the competitive local morning TV newscasts, I was surprised that three stations are going into sweeps month (starting today) without their A teams. Particularly when top-rated Channel 12 could be vulnerable, after losing meteorologist Steve Horstmeyer. For most of his 19 years at Channel 12, "Good Morning Cincinnati" was No. 1.

--Channel 12 has replaced Horstmeyer with John Gumm, the personable evening weekend forecaster. But his bosses say the move isn't permanent. News Director Elbert Tucker and General Manager Les Vann say they're still looking at tapes for a fourth forecaster, after which they'll decide if Gumm sticks in the morning. At least they're filling the position. Van says he's still evaluating the budget for this year and next to see if/how they can replace any of the others the station has lost since last fall: Paul Adler, Dayna Eubanks, Sasha Rionda, Richard Jordan, etc.) Without Horstmeyer, John Lomax is the morning TV personality with the longest tenure (since 1990).

--Channel 5 traffic producer Perry Schiable apparently won't be the permanent replacement for traffic reporter Pete Scalia, who quit in March for a morning anchor job at Dayton’s Channel 22. News Director Brennan Donnellan says they're still looking at candidates. I've known Perry since she wrote for our Local News pages four years ago, and she's a great lady, but my guess is that they're looking for someone with an extrovert personality. But can they out-do Channel 12's Bob Herzog?

--Channel 9 is using fill-ins and freelancers to replace morning reporter Becky Freemal through sweeps. However, Lance Barry is the permanent replacement for Lisa Cornwell in the "Breaking News Center,"says Bill Fee, vice president and general manager. Without Horstmeyer, Larry Handley is the morning meteorologist with the longest tenure (since 1999).

--With all these changes, Channel 19 goes into sweeps with the most stable news team. Rob Williams and Sheila Gray have been together longer than any morning anchor team (since 1999), but they have a relatively new morning weatherman in Frank Marzullo(since January).

Channel 12 stayed on top after Cammy Dierking left in 2005. We'llsee what happens in May sweeps, which end May 21. What's your prediction?


at 4/25/2008 4:30 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep grinding that ax, Kiese.

at 4/25/2008 9:13 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of grinding an ax.
John should do an article on the sad state of radio in this town and why it just plain STINKS!!!!!

at 4/25/2008 9:32 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But can they out-do Channel 12's Bob Herzog?"

Good God, I hope not. That dance party thing turned me off that show a long time ago.

at 4/25/2008 9:45 AM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

My prediction: The Simpsonss will overtake Channel 5 news at 11PM to reclaim 3rd place.

at 4/25/2008 10:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just what Cincinnati needs. Another wannabe comedian doing the morning traffic. The best traffic report in the city is FOX 19 with the guy who doesn't even appear on camera. I don't want that guy to wear a clown nose and tell me jokes and sing songs. I WANT THE FREAKIN' TRAFFIC! I'm sure they get lots of e-mails telling them how funny they are.

Is that what this is about? Fan clubs? Where's Ted Baxter?

No wonder FOX 19 is number one in the morning and 5 is LAST!

at 4/25/2008 10:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do some comments, posted in a normal manner, NEVER show up here?

And I'm talking about normal, non-flaming, completely inoffensive comments.

What's the deal? I've put up several items over recent weeks and months, waiting patiently for them -- and NOTHING. For example, I put up a comment about the Maupin funeral this weekend, as well as an earlier one on the May sweeps item, but have waited in vain for a sign of either one.

I'm going to stop trying to post if this continues. "Comment moderation" is one thing, but completely arbitrary and unpredictable actions are something else entirely.

at 4/25/2008 10:50 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, anon 10:05 - you just described 12's Bob Herzog. 5 has that Perry girl (for now). Did you even read John's post?

Pete (before he left) would just do a few things to lighten things up here and there. No dance parties.

Then again, you sound like a dance party might be just what you need!!!

at 4/25/2008 10:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, 10:05 ... FOX 19 is "first" because of their traffic reports? Wow. I knew it had to be something.

at 4/25/2008 11:28 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Herzog guy is so over the top. I am embarrassed for him. He has no credability at all as a personality or journalist.

at 4/25/2008 11:32 AM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

To Anon 10:48:
If I think something is offensive, yes, I'll spike it, because my name's on the blog. I post about 99% of the comments. You've read plenty of mean and snarky ones... I'm not that type of guy, and the meanness of so many posts surprises me, especially when a news personality is getting a better gig in a different city. I wish more would play nice.

at 4/25/2008 12:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


You should include yourself in that statement as well.

at 4/25/2008 12:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John --

Your response to my question about failing to post "snarky" items in this blog simply doesn't wash. OF COURSE you have the right and responsibility to do that.

I am talking about completely respectful items that DIRECTLY relate to the topic at hand. Specifically, I asked in one of those posts if you could explain why advertisers and broadcasters care about sweeps periods, considering that these periods are full on unusual stunts designed to boost ratings, and therefore have NO relation to the remainder of the year.

What was snarky about that? Why won't you post that, or answer the question?

at 4/25/2008 12:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please. Channel 19 in the morning. No way with that silly woman and that goofy stupid smile and those HUGE teeth!!!!

at 4/25/2008 1:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

UH, ANON 10:50...Yeah, I did read John's post. The part about them wanting an "extrovert personality." People want the traffic, not a standup routine. It's very frustrating to be standing with keys in hand, only to have to sit through some idiotic schtick. That's why I'm switched to 19. They go to the guy and he does the report. No big clown shoes there. Pete thought he was God's gift to TV. He wasn't.

at 4/25/2008 3:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, traffic reports on local tv in the mornings. Get a grip. Cant believe people sit and wait on these. Sort of like listening to the "aviation expert" on 700 WLW in the mornings to see if there are delays in some west coast city. Wow, thats strong!

at 4/25/2008 3:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, 1:03 - you stand there, keys in hand, watching a TV traffic report? What, no radio in your bitter mobile?

And btw, your comment about Pete is totally and completely unfounded. You obviously don't know squat about the guy. Now go play in traffic. Ha! See? I made a funny. Guess that makes me God's gift to this blog. Dork.

at 4/25/2008 3:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more thing. Yes, he is :-)

at 4/25/2008 4:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete ...aka ANON 3:42 and 3:43...YOU obviously don't know squat about the guy, but then you ARE him....

Now I'm bitter because I want a traffic report when they go to the traffic guy? Ya know, this is why you TV people are so clueless. You think the morning shows are your own personal little club. You forget one thing: WHAT THE VIEWERS WANT! If you want to be a standup comic, go to the Funnybone on Open Mic Night.

If you don't want me watching traffic on TV, then don't do the reports. Is it really so wrong for me to expect a traffic report when they go to the traffic guy?
Your logic is just what I would expect from someone on one of these local shows.

at 4/25/2008 4:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former traffic reporter I get very frustrated with the tv reporters...this morning the ch 9 girl says about big problems on 74 and then says avoid them.. How does that help anyone? Give alternate routes! Don't use the word disable vehicle - nobody talks like that! When you give accidents say what part of town it is in...Don't tell me how to drive or to buckle up - its none of your business!

at 4/25/2008 5:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, smart guy? Not who you think I am. So, I guess that means you = not so smart.

Pete actually *did* do traffic in his reports. But now, in case you forgot, that's a moot point. There's a total goofball on ch.12 every day, and you choose to rant on and on about some guy who doesn't even work there anymore? Very, very odd. Makes one think that maybe *you* are the one with a personal or TV connection?? Obviously, not a good one, either. Ok. bye bye.

at 4/25/2008 6:14 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...


about your posts not showing up, i have experienced the same thing lately and was getting paranoid. Also another blogger site I have to hit submit twice to get my post to show (It is a blog where your post shows up immediately because the blogger is on it 7 days a week)

I have not made snarky or mean posts but wondered why they did not show up.

Glad I am not the only one.

at 4/25/2008 7:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

HEY ANON 1:03, Pete's been gone a couple of months, he must have made an impression on you to still bring up his name.

at 4/25/2008 7:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

HEY ANON 4:14, Get over it. Pete's been gone for a couple of months. He did the reports in a way that was entertaining while still to the point. The guy on 12 should not be on TV.

at 4/25/2008 10:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, correction to your story--

Wouldn't that be a "fifth" (not forth) forecaster if Channel 12 hires another forecaster?
They already have 4 -tim, michelle, john gumm, and that jeff creighton guy.........

at 4/26/2008 7:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

HEY ANON 7:39 and 7:44...Pretty obvious you're the same person by the way you type your posts. Pete, why are you still here? It's so obvious that whoever you are, you're a TV insider and not a regular Joe TV watcher. Honestly, the average person has NO IDEA who you are. Please get over yourself.

Pete is mentioned by me because he's mentioned in John's original blog. Herzog is also a buffoon and Denise is just OK. Bruce on FOX 19 doesn't try to be Letterman, and I know that he's going to give me traffic, not a comedy monologue.

Again, you TV guys are so blind to what TV viewers actually want. Just keep being snarky with your comments and we'll see where the morning show landscape is in five years.

at 4/26/2008 8:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


What site are you talking about? How do I get to it?

at 4/27/2008 10:04 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was disappointed Steve left Channel 12, but I continue to watch them and will. Their morning team has a chemistry like no other and I think John Gumm has done a good job mapping out his own place on the sh w/o being a Steve clone. The entire team is serious when needed, but know how to mix it up. I love Bob Herzog's Dance Party Friday w/ or w/o a partner.

at 4/27/2008 10:18 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed that in reading the article "Dueling At Dawn" in Sundays A&E section that you mention Bill Fee (GM at WCPO-TV) had terminated David Rose last year. Why? I thought he was a great anchor. David Rose and Katherine Nero seemed to get along a lot better than Bernard Watson and kathering Nero.

Mandy in Newport

at 4/27/2008 11:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds as though the former traffic reporter is a little bitter. What are you doing now? If you have ever paid attention to the traffic girl on 9, she gets to the point, you know where the problems are, and if you would have listened during the show, she did explain how the police were detouring traffic on 74. If you want traffic she is very detailed for the time she is allowed. I am a former traffic reporter as well, and I think she does the best job, she just needs more time. She is funny, and to the point. Not to mention the most attractive traffic reporter. So get a grip.

at 4/27/2008 12:36 PM Blogger Screaming Mimes said...

Perry deserves the spot - she's very talented and does a great job on air. Why would 5 need to look anywhere else?

at 4/28/2008 9:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perry does a good job. Granted she doesn't have the physical attributes of Denise Johnson nor the hyperness of Bob Herzog, she is good.

If this were 30 - 35 years ago (and using today's standard), would Rosemary Kelly or Elsa Sule have survived WLWT?

at 4/28/2008 3:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watch 9 in the mornings when I have to go to work early. I watch 19 when Good Morning America comes on simply because they have longer traffic and more of it. Channel 9's traffic isn't very long during rush hour. The Bruce buy does a good job, and they have more traffic reports when it's important at 8:00. But, I like Denise on 9 better.  I have stopped on 5, and the new girl does an OK job.  I don't know why they wouldn't keep her!  The only thing I don't understand is how 12 can be #1, the traffic guy is crazy, he draws crazy lines on the cameras, and the dance party is so stupid, doesn't he feel like an idot.  Traffic and the weather are the two most important issues for me to see in the morning...

at 4/28/2008 8:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Herzog makes me smile in the morning and that's a good way to start the day.

at 4/28/2008 11:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 3:37 pm- I'm curious. If watching an 8 am traffic report is so important to you, then why are you watching Herzog's 5:45 am report/Friday Dance Party?

Do you really sit there for two hours and fifteen minutes studying traffic patterns, or do you just have an axe to grind?

How many traffic hits do you think Herzog makes a morning? Four an hour? So what is that - 12 a day? 60 a week?

I guess one dance party a week isn't so bad now, is it?

Derek said it would be like this.

at 4/29/2008 6:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

pI really like Bob Herzog! He is great and very professional. I don't know why people always are bringing him up on this blog. Bob is awesome, and he adds a great deal to the morning show and he also is a great member of our community. I am not sure who it is that is always posting about him in a negative way, but I feel as though it might be the same person.

at 4/30/2008 9:43 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Herzog is a nice guy, but he is not very credible especially that dancing around. Very difficult to watch him. Maybe another carrier choice like theatre.

at 5/08/2008 3:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like John Gumm in the morning and I think they should make the switch permanent. I like Jeff Creighton too, and hopefully they'll give him a larger role and more air time. I've watched 12 in the morning for years and I'm sorry but life goes on without Steve Horstmeyer. He was great on 12 and I can understand why he left, but things change all the time and people come and go in this industry, and it would take a lot for me to leave 12. Maybe I'll catch him on 19 at night.

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